Master the art of auction buys

Published: 14 May 2017

Bikes For Sale

I've been dubbed ‘a bit of a haggler’. Sounds like fair comment...

‘A bit of a haggler’ it said on the eBay feedback left for me recently. Damn right. In this case, though, the seller had set a classified price of £20 but invited offers. My first one was rejected; the second, for £15, accepted.

I know eBay is a closed book to many people. They don’t trust it or they’ve had one bad experience that’s put them off, so this week I’m looking at how to buy on eBay and next week, how to sell.

First, take a good hard look at the pictures on the auction page, because these and the buyer’s description are all you have to go on. If there are bits of the bike you want to see that aren’t pictured, ask the seller if they can put up or email you a couple more. Good sellers will usually oblige.

Secondly, peruse the description and make note of what is not mentioned or glossed over. The seller’s idea of what constitutes ‘normal scuffs and wear and tear’ may not match yours. If there’s no mention of an MoT, assume it hasn’t got one. If the mileage isn’t mentioned, and the odometer is not pictured, assume it’s high. You can always ask the seller for clarification before you bid.

Thirdly, look at the seller’s feedback. Everyone gets the odd negative from time to time, but a history of poor items and service forms a clear pattern.

Fourthly, all the action takes place in the last 60 seconds of bidding. You may think that because the bike has only been bid up to £2000 and there’s just 24 hours to go, that it will sell for around that. My rule of thumb is the price rises by 40- 50% in the last day. I usually put a couple of exploratory bids on early, especially if I’m trying to second- guess a reserve price, and then leave it to the end. 

Looking for the perfect two-wheeled companion? Visit MCN Bikes For Sale website or use MCN's Bikes For Sale App.